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Terrifying Commute

Being one of the only permeable membranes at NPR affords us a little bit of freedom, and today, given the events in Minnesota, we thought we'd take advantage of it. As I said earlier, having the height of normality turn into a nightmare is something that doesn't happen very often, but when it does it's terrifying. We'd really like to hear from our listeners/readers in Minnesota this hour; or anywhere else that's gone through this kind of event. Let us know what you saw, how you got through it, and how you're feeling now.

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I wanted to comment on the occurence of this tragedy and the steam pipe explosion just a few weeks ago, and the much larger disater of the levies unable to hold during hurricane Katrina. It is obvious to me that our government is out of control and the spending of our tax dollars unchecked if we are increasing our war budget with leaps and bounds but not paying due attention to our own cities' infrastructures. We come to assume that our bridges, and roads and tunnels and transportations systems and safety systems will work appropriately when we need them. It is obvios to me that we can no longer make such assumptions. We should in fact assume that our basic human need are being and wll contonue to be neglected for the agendas of a few people with already deep pockets.

Sent by Alicia (Uh-leesh-uh) Chrisler (pronounced like the car) | 3:48 PM | 8-2-2007

I have always been one of those people who had a thing about bridges the way some people fear flying or others fear heights. If I have to stop in traffic on a bridge, especially one over water, my heart starts racing, my palms sweat and I start to plot escape routes, even to the point of opening a car window in the middle of winter.

I dream about bridges collapsing, finding myself falling, falling, falling, gathering more and more speed until my body screams like a plane in a steep dive. But I never hit water. Instead I wake up screaming with my heart threatening to blow itself right out of my chest while it skips beats in syncopated terror. Little did I know that yesterday my nightmare would become real.

The bridge I have most feared to drive over fell into the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. There was a more than remote possibility that my wife was on that bridge when it went down.

As I waited for a return phone call from someone, I wondered if this would become another Katrina. Katrina revealed the precariousness of New Orleans' levees and FEMA's mismanagement. This incident reveals the perilousness of America's deteriorating infrastructure and its mismanagement.

This nation has neglected much in the name of cutting back government. Perhaps that bridge will finally get it through to some thick skulls that billionaires with extra cash will not fix bridges and roads or help our schools or provide better health care.

The book The Strange Death of Liberal America gives the big picture.

Sent by Ralph Brauer | 12:09 PM | 8-3-2007